CEL on... no one HOME

… All week we’ve been hearing our friend say the CEL is on and the shop can’t find a code…

Today, he starts talking about coolant, and it turns out, he was talking about the check GAUGES light ! " … and when the temp gauge hit 260 …"

There were a lot of air bubbles in the coolant and about 3 pints low, it’s the dex cool and been 100,000 since changed…
no oil contamination, tho, but been spiking to 260 and then coming down all week.

I’d say the head gasket is suspect, and with the old dex, running it low like that is really bad…

Stay tuned …

Are you asking a question? As you suspect, bubbling & low coolant is bad.

Year, make, model, mileage??

It could be the head gasket, or the entire cooling system could be gunked up by the elderly Dexcool in there. Or both.

Could also be a sticky thermostat.
I would change it every 5 years.

Up date from the car shop… leaking intake manifold gasket… $ 700
Will do comp test before repair

Um…what’s a “check GAUGES light”?

My old Caravan had a check gauges light. The dash had actual needle gauges all over it - temp, oil pressure, amps, etc. If one of the gauges went out of spec (e.g. oil pressure bottoms) a red “Check gauges” light would come on. I wouldn’t know on an S-10 though. Maybe the same idea. Maybe something else.

Never saw one of these lights. I definitely need to get out more.

Here’s the Brilliant part: on the 2001 s-10 both lights(cel & gua.) are the same color and right next to each other, the temp gau. is not coded in any, to give any indication of the safe driving range. The person driving is handicap and has difficulty understanding things…
The 2nd gen caravan has a 3 step dope slap syst. When something goes out of range, it trys to get your att. by a check gau. light, and then begins sounding a death knell or chime. This is good, because the trouble lights are behind the steering wheel, not on the eye leval ‘information center’ reserved for the turn lights.

TSM, my 2000 Ford Exploder has a red ‘Check Gauges’ light that lights up when any of the gauges, including the fuel gauge, gets to an unsafe level. Luckily, only a low fuel level has set this light off in the 8 years I’ve owned it.

With an engine running that chronically hot I would suggest that your friend run a compression test and not have too deep a love affair with the car at this point.
Head gaskets are always a suspect but what’s often overlooked are the piston rings which can be damaged due to seizing in the ring lands or losing their temper. (meaning no spring action to them.)

I might add that a compression test should first be performed as a dry test and a followup with a wet test. Since compression readings are often misinterpreted even by mechanics you might post any results here if this test is done.